Letter: How can you help prevent child sexual abuse?

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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Dear Editor,

I had expected 40 church leaders from First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange to attend the training on how we can best reduce the likelihood of child sexual abuse. The training is called Stewards of Children. It’s a compelling 2-hour training developed by Darkness To Light. Just the name is appropriately obligatory. I mean, shouldn’t we all be Stewards of Children? Laura Neely, Pastor for Mission & Formation, with support and guidance of Mike Angstadt, lifelong child advocate and former Executive Director of Twin Cedars, had reached out to us wanting to hear more about Darkness To Light’s Stewards of Children training. She, fully supported by Lead pastor James Goodlet, wanted church staff, teachers, deacons, and elders, to be equipped to do all they can to help prevent child sexual abuse. She wanted to do all she could to protect God’s children. 

Leaning on optimism I brought 50 workbooks with me to the Sunday Afternoon training. I left with none. It’s so confirmational to see a church embrace this initiative so fully. Everyone there participated and the impact on each participant was visible. 

One in 10 children are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18 (1 in 7 girls and 1 in 21 boys). Count the children in your extended family. Count your children, your nieces, your nephews, your grandchildren. The incredibly good news is that this is a significant reduction from the rate of 1 in 5 many of us grew up with. We’ve cut the rate of sexual abuse in half. Let’s do it again.  This enlightening training may be conducted in person by one of our facilitators or you may do so online.  Please, for the sake of our children and our future, take this opportunity to your boss, your preacher, your spouse, or yourself. The in-person training costs $8 per participant for non-profits and each participant receives a workbook. Any costs associated with the online training are now covered by Allie Raisman, a former Olympic Gymnast who was abused by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.  

 If you’d like to schedule this training for your church, business, or civic group please contact John Harrell at 706-302-7546.